A tradition dating back decades in Nakusp may soon need to find a new home.
The iconic red Nakusp Fire Hall is up for sale, listed in the $300,000s – obsolete now that the newly-christened Emergency Services Building is fully operational. Proceeds from the sale of the building constructed in 1925 and added to in the 1950s would be used to repay a loan taken out for construction of the ESB, said Mayor Karen Hamling.
The fire hall is kitty-corner to another Arrow Lakes architectural icon that is also for sale: the provincial courthouse is listed in the $400,000’s.
With their antiquated facilities and deep local history, many vintage fire halls and other municipally owned properties are finding new uses, like the ancient downtown Kelowna fire hall that is now a hip hangout.
A quick Internet survey found former fire halls for sale in places like Maple Bay, B.C., Nanaimo, B.C., Berwick, N.S. and Donalda, Alberta.
In Nakusp, smoke-patinaed boots still line the bays where gleaming fire trucks once waited to be driven, clanging to some local emergency.
That’s where firemen manning three large mixing bowls kept the batter coming – most with blueberries, some without – for the Nakusp Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Canada Day pancake breakfast.
“We have our little rivalries between the pancakes and the bacon – minor blueberry wars,” quipped firefighter Rory McLeod as he worked with a three-man bacon brigade, piling bacon on the griddle.
Always ready to serve in the background in case of emergency, the Nakusp Volunteer Fire Department did two very noticeable things Friday.
Performing a traditional Canada Day wakeup, they drove around town in the early morning with sirens and lights blaring. Once they had the village’s attention, they served breakfast to what appeared to be the whole village – filling every part of Nakusp with the smell of crisp bacon.
“It’s fun and it raises money for the fireworks tonight,” said David Scambler, unapologetic about the early-morning siren wakeup. “That’s a tradition, too.”
“The first pancake breakfast was in 1968, and that was to raise money for fireworks,” said Reg Gustafson.
“It hasn’t changed,” said Scott Hurry, in town from the Okanagan with his own family to reunite with friends and family, recalling the Canada Day firemen’s pancake breakfasts of his youth.
Hurry said he was happy to shell out $8 a plate for massive blueberry pancakes and sausage or bacon for the good cause of fireworks later that evening.
One of the most dedicated volunteers for the morning’s feed was also one of the youngest. David Fox, 14, worked tirelessly to keep tables cleared and ready for a steady line of pancake eaters.
“They gave me bacon for helping out,” he said with a smile. “I just want to help out – and my dad’s on the fire department.”
Julia Kriegshammer of Germany is in town visiting family. She was impressed with Canada Day in Nakusp – and the massive Canadian-style pancakes.
“It’s nice – very good. German pancakes are not so thick,” she said.